Hypnotherapy for quitting smoking can be an effective method in challenging unhelpful mindsets and negative behaviours associated with smoking, helping you to live a healthier life.
Cigarette smoking is one of the greatest single causes of illness and premature death in the UK. Worldwide the number is far greater. Tobacco is killing around eight million people each year, while almost one million deaths are due to non-smokers being exposed to secondhand smoke. Despite nearly 80,000 people in the UK dying from smoking-related illnesses each year, between 13-15% of adults still smoke.
Though, it seems things are changing. 40 years ago, 51% of men and 41% of women were smokers. These rates have more than halved, with 12.9% of UK adults smoking, and 60% saying they have never smoked.
Quitting smoking is a big challenge. It takes more than just willpower to give up smoking. There are many different options available to help you quit. From campaigns such as Stoptober to local support groups, therapy to medication. For many people, hypnotherapy is an effective solution.
Considering giving up smoking? Before you try to quit, it’s important to recognise why you want to quit and to be sure you are making this decision for yourself. Trying to quit when you’re not ready or for someone else can often lead to relapse, frustration, and feelings of failure. You are more likely to succeed if you commit to quitting for your own good.
Why stop smoking?
Smoking increases the risk of developing a wide range of health ailments and diseases. Unfortunately, the habit doesn’t only harm the smoker’s health, it can also have a negative impact on the people around them. If smoking around children and babies, for example, they become vulnerable to many smoking-related health problems, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and the risk of cot death will increase.
Adults who endure passive smoking for a long period of time are also at an increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer. Tobacco is also an irritant, potentially making conditions such as asthma worse.
Stopping smoking can help improve your health, enhance your quality of life, and reduce your risk of premature death.
What are the benefits of quitting smoking?
It’s never too late to quit smoking. Whatever age you are, if you make the decision to stop, your health will benefit. The sooner you quit, the faster the body can recover and the risk of developing serious health conditions will decrease.
There are many benefits to stopping smoking, including:
- more energy
- improved immune system
- longer life expectancy
- better breathing
- less stress
- younger-looking skin
- more money
- reduced risk of cancers, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and vascular disease
- saving money (a pack a day costs around £3,500 a year)
Stopping smoking also prevents harm from coming to your friends and family through second-hand smoke. Passive smoking can be particularly harmful to children and babies, putting them at further risk of developing chest illnesses and infections, reduced lung function, middle ear disease, asthma attacks, and sudden and unexpected death in infancy (SUDI). It also reduces the likelihood of your children and teens starting to smoke, as studies have shown children living with someone who smokes are much more likely to start themselves.
The effects of smoking cessation on the body
The time since the last cigarette and how it affects the body:
- 20 minutes: Blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.
- 12 hours: Carbon monoxide levels drop back to normal.
- 24 hours: The body starts to clear out the mucus build-up in the lungs.
- 72 hours: Breathing becomes easier and energy levels increase.
- 1 month: Appearance of the skin improves.
- 3 to 9 months: Lung function can improve by up to 10%.
- 1 year: Risk of suffering from a heart attack falls to about half of that of a smoker.
- 10 years: Risk of developing lung cancer falls to about half of that of a smoker.
- 15 years: Risk of suffering heart attack falls to that of a non-smoker.
What are the risks and side effects of stopping smoking?
Stopping smoking can lead to a number of withdrawal symptoms. These can be uncomfortable, but they will fade as long as you remain smoke-free. Having ‘just one more’ or ‘just a last’ cigarette can restart the withdrawal process, drawing out the unpleasant side effects. These side effects can include:
- cravings or urges to smoke
- feelings of irritation, upset or being grouchy
- feeling restless, on edge, or having trouble concentrating
- feeling anxious or depressed
- difficulty sleeping
- feeling hungrier
- weight gain (if replacing your smoking habit unintentionally with eating or snacking)
While the side effects can vary from person to person, withdrawal symptoms typically peak within the first three days, lasting for two weeks. Many report feeling few to no symptoms once they have past the first month of stopping smoking.
Using e-cigarettes to stop smoking
The NHS suggests the use of e-cigarettes, also known as vaping, as an effective method to reduce or stop cigarette smoking.
E-cigarettes work by heating up a liquid containing nicotine. This is inhaled as a vapour rather than smoke, making it less harmful than cigarettes. Vapes are used to manage nicotine cravings and can be up to two times more effective at helping people quit smoking when compared to other nicotine replacements (NRTs) like patches. Vapes can be rechargeable or disposable.
Stopping smoking and starting vaping means that ex-smokers will stop inhaling harmful toxins, such as carbon monoxide, immediately. However, you won’t see the full benefits of vaping unless you stop smoking completely.
If you want to give vaping a try to reduce or stop smoking, ensure that you secure your vape from a reputable retailer and never leave it unattended when charging.
Though vaping is less harmful than cigarette smoking, it isn’t free from risk. Some of these risks include nicotine addiction, inhaling potentially harmful chemicals, lung injuries and hazardous concerns (there have been incidents of vapes exploding, causing serious injury and burns). The NHS notes that if you want to quit smoking, you should aim to eventually stop vaping, too. Similarly, if you don’t smoke, it’s advised not to start vaping.
How to quit vaping
If you decide you’d like to stop vaping, there are ways you can navigate handling nicotine withdrawal. Some methods include:
- Identifying your triggers. Note down what causes you to vape. Is it seeing others smoke or boredom, for example? Being mindful about your triggers can help you form a strategy to deal with them or avoid them altogether.
- Find techniques to deal with cravings. You’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms in the first few weeks of quitting vaping. Consider what you can do the moment you get a craving to take your mind off it, such as going for a walk, deep breathing or distracting the mind with a puzzle.
- Inform others. Talking to others about your plan can be incredibly supportive. Sharing boundaries, such as asking friends not to vape around you, can make the process a little easier.
- Work with a professional. Working with a therapist can help you manage behaviours and develop coping skills to deal with nicotine withdrawal. Similarly, working with a hypnotherapist can help you to identify and reframe thought patterns associated with vaping.
Hypnotherapy can be an effective tool for quitting vaping because it addresses addiction at its core, focusing on the underlying psychological factors that drive the behaviour.
Hypnotherapist Deanne Bloomfield, 'How hypnotherapy can help you quit vaping'
Research suggests that hypnotherapy can be an effective way of stopping smoking for good. Find out more about the research behind hypnosis and hypnotherapy to stop smoking.
Hypnotherapy to quit smoking
A great number of people find hypnotherapy for smoking an effective treatment. The method works to break the negative behaviours and thinking patterns associated with smoking, such as smoking to relieve stress. It is these negative thoughts and behaviours that often prevent people from successfully giving up. Quitting does not deal with the underlying issues.
So, when a person makes the decision to stop smoking, the key aspect is to let go of the routine and change how they view cigarettes. Breaking an addiction like this is a challenge; it won’t be easy, especially if it is a lifelong habit, and changing how you think about something can be difficult.
Hypnotherapy focuses on this change. The hypnotherapist will support you and guide you through the motions, you’re no longer alone in trying to quit. Because of this, hypnotherapy is fast becoming one of the most popular forms of treatment.
How much does hypnotherapy to stop smoking cost?
Hypnotherapists typically charge between £50-£100 for a 50 to 60-minute session. Some professionals may offer a free initial consultation. Others may provide a package of sessions at a reduced cost.
Stop smoking hypnosis can often cost more than a typical hypnotherapy session. The cost of hypnotherapy sessions to stop smoking can vary, depending on the location of the therapist, if sessions are in-person or online and how many sessions you need. For some people, a single one-off session may be enough. For others, a series of sessions may be needed to reinforce new behaviours or ideas. To determine how much sessions are likely to cost, we recommend contacting a professional directly.
When considering hypnosis to stop smoking, the first thing to do is to make sure you are ready and are choosing to quit for yourself. Hypnotherapy for smoking has been found to be most effective when the person really wants to quit and is determined to succeed.
The reason hypnosis works so well is easy to understand. Smoking, like all habits, is controlled by the unconscious part of the mind.
- Hypnotherapist Gavin Roberts, 'How you can stop smoking in one session of hypnosis'.
How many hypnotherapy sessions does it take to stop smoking?
The number of sessions needed can vary from person to person. For some people, a single session is enough, while others may need a series of four or five sessions.
Can you quit smoking through hypnosis?
Hypnotherapy works by guiding the individual into a deep, relaxed state. During this time, the mind is more open to suggestion and change. At this point, the hypnotherapist makes suggestions, which will help you in changing your thought patterns and behaviours associated with smoking.
Suggestions will be tailored to you, but will be along the lines of “I do not want a cigarette” and “the smell of cigarette smoke makes me feel unwell”. They may also ask you to visualise smoking a cigarette, but imagining an unpleasant taste or smell. This can help build an association - when you think of smoking, the unpleasant thoughts will come as well.
You may also be recommended to learn self-hypnosis techniques to practise at home, long after your sessions are over. This means that when a potential trigger occurs, you know how to cope with the feeling. Your therapist will likely include this as part of your sessions, but if you're unsure, ask for more information.
Learn more about self-hypnosis.
Many people find hypnotherapy is enough to break the habit, while others prefer to combine the treatment with NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) or medication. Of course, everyone is different and what may work for one person, may not work for you. By exploring all options, you should be able to find a suitable and effective treatment. The best thing is to speak to people - friends, family, and other people who have quit. Discussing your options with your doctor and hypnotherapist can also help you understand what may be best for you.
It is important to remember that hypnotherapy for smoking is not a quick fix. While for some people, one session is enough to quit smoking (or continue the journey alone), others may benefit from follow-up sessions. The ultimate aim of hypnosis for smoking is to empower people to take control of their addiction and improve their health.
I highly recommend anybody that has any issue, no matter what it is, to think about hypnotherapy as an option.
- Read Kev's story.
Finding a hypnotherapist
If you would like to consider hypnotherapy to help you quit smoking, the next step is to find a professional. It may feel daunting at first, but it could be the first step to a much healthier life. It's important to find a hypnotherapist that resonates with you, so we encourage our members to fill their profiles with as much information as possible. This way you can learn more about them, how they work and if they are the person to help you.
How will I know if they are qualified?
On Hypnotherapy Directory, we have a proof policy in place to ensure all professionals listed on our website have provided proof of qualifications and insurance or membership with a professional body. You can use our advanced search to find a hypnotherapist near you. When you find a professional you believe can help, simply send them an email.